One of the things I love about Greater Portland Bible Church is seeing corporate and individual demonstrations of Jesus' love for those who have needs and hurts. The Food Pantry and Manna Ministry providing food, Stephen Ministry offering comfort, individuals and small groups providing yard care and other practical needs for our church family and community are simply a few examples. Over the years, there have been times when circumstances have been just too big to manage on my own, and I am thankful to be part of a community that has walked beside me in my need.
I remember one time in particular where my small group immediately responded, setting aside anything they had planned or needed to do to prioritize my urgent needs. Their care for me had to be tremendously inconvenient. It was totally unexpected and beyond any of our experiences or expertise. It was too big for me and it was too big for my small group without the participation of the Holy Spirit that provided wisdom for on-the-spot decision making, energy to do what was needed, and a sense of togetherness that deepened the relationships within our group. I can't imagine how differently my life, and my family’s life would be without their support. Too many people in our greater community don't have support in the way of family, friends, or a faith community to offer radical hospitality, compassion fueled by mercy, and disruptive generosity that I was fortunate to receive.
That is why I am so excited to introduce a new ministry at GPBC! We are partnering with Safe Families for Children to come beside parents experiencing a short-term crisis that interferes with their ability to care for their children, such as a job loss, hospitalization, or participation in drug treatment.
We will be forming a network of families and individuals to come together to provide temporary housing with a host family for children, wrapping practical supports around the host family, and providing for the parent(s) through a supportive mentor.
Having host families is, of course, crucial to this ministry, but, in another example of God using the church body together, offering practical support such as: providing meals, assisting with transportation to school and family visits, supplying diapers, clothing, and age appropriate furnishings or needs, and giving respite care make this ministry successful.
Families participating as care receivers and providers are carefully vetted, training is provided, and the model is well established. Families who have participated, in either capacity, have the opportunity to experience God meeting their needs and stretching their hearts.
There will be an informational meeting after church this Sunday, June 10, where a representative of Safe Families for Children Portland will be present to share about this ministry and answer questions.
A light lunch will be served, so your response would be appreciated but not required. Understanding this is a busy season, we will meet at 12:00 for about an hour for an overview of Safe Families for Children and how GPBC can be involved, and then anyone can stay for more in-depth question and answer time.
I truly hope to see you there!